Genius Hour

Well I've decided to jump into Genius Hour.  I keep reading about all these wonderful experiences kiddos are having as they pursue their passion.  I have such an inquisitive group of second graders that I just have to give this a whirl.  So... whirl we are.  I kicked off Genius Hour with this fun video from Kid President. 

I just love that kid!  This was a great video for getting the kids excited and motivated to share their "wonderings."  
I gave each student a square of construction paper with their name at the top.  I decided to write their name all fancy at the top.  By "fancy" I mean with Sharpie.  I told them this was their very own Wondering Wall.  Which of course elicited many oohs and aaahs even though they had no idea what a Wondering Wall is.  I love their excitement.  I told them to just hang on because I was about to share something with them that would knock their socks off- colored sticky notes.  I know- minds were blown.  I gave every student 1 sticky and told them to write 1 "Wondering" on it.  They had to start the sentence with "I wonder..".  Once everyone had their first Wondering we shared them.  They came up with some great ones.  I handed out another sticky (different) color and told them to record another Wondering.  They could use a Wondering that someone else shared if they were inspired.  We shared these out and repeated the process for a total of 6 stickies and we got some excellent Wonderings.  The stickies were attached to their Wondering Wall (square of construction paper with fancy name).  I then had them get into pairs and decide on 1 Wondering to investigate together.  

They LOVED this.  Loved!  Once everyone had their question we read this great book.

That's as far as we have gotten on this endeavor.  I can't wait to see where this goes.  Stay tuned.

Google Classroom

I am blessed to work in a district that provides 1:1 Chromebooks for primary students.  I was pretty nervous at first.  I'm an Apple girl all the way and that was definitely my comfort zone.  I have slowly become a Google Gal though.  My learning curve is steep but I am making progress.  I decided to give Google Classroom a whirl. There isn't a ton of resources available for Google Classroom and primary students so I'm pretty much figuring this out as I go.  For my first assignment, I had the kiddos join our Classroom, add it to their bookmark bar and watch a YouTube video on bats.  That was enough for a first lesson and they did great!!!    I was so shocked and nervous that I forgot to snap some photos.   Trust me it was so awesome to watch all those little faces actively learning with technology.

Halloween Day Fun

What to do when Halloween falls on a Monday?  That is all sorts of wrong.  I really wanted to keep our schedule sorta normal thinking that could possibly tame some of their excitement.  I.THOUGHT.WRONG!!!!  You would think that spending over 20 years as a classroom teacher I would never make a rookie mistake.  Oh Boy did I.   I honestly thought Pumpkin Catapults would be a wonderful science activity to occupy their candy/costume craziness.  Uh No!  Learn from me, people.  Nothing should be catapulted on Halloween.   But... if you wanted to try this activity on another day, I'm sure it would be lots of fun.
I started the activity by showing a couple of pumpkin catapult videos from Youtube.  We talked about what a catapult is and what it's function is.  Next, I let the kids group themselves (I know crazy). I told them they had to be in groups of 2, 3, or 4.   I gave each group a bucket of materials:  rubber bands, popsicle sticks, masking tape, plastic spoons and of course a pumpkin.  I chose the candy variety FYI and probably the only right decision I made the entire day.  Ha!




 I will admit the kids were learning the entire time.  They had a blast and I loved listening to their science discussions.  It only got crazy when we tested the catapults.  They did a fantastic job and we all survived Halloween on a Monday.  
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